The American marketing association defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them .
Quite simply, your brand is your product or service. Branding is a products identity and its legacy. By building a strong brand image for a product or service, you give a product personality, an image, and the single voice or message for the brand. This ultimately determines how the costumer thinks about the product or service and how it stands out from the competition. The more unique the persona you create, the more memorable the brand will be.
Brand equity is a company or products reputation in the market place. Over time, a brand must repeatedly deliver reliable results to create trust between the target and the brand. Trust translates into brand loyalty and repeat sales. From the consumer’s perspective, brand equity means that consumers are familiar with the brand and know from experience that it brings positive results and unique brand associations. So to the consumer, brand equity is made up of two kinds of brand knowledge: brand awareness and brand image.
Brand equity is our perception of quality based on experience, often even before we even buy a product. For example, Campbell’s is a brand even though it is not a specific product. We buy Campbell’s chicken or tomato soup- a product- because we know it’s a quality brand, and favor it over, say, a store brand. Consequently, Campbell’s has more brand equity in the mind of the consumer that does a grocery store brand.
It may seem obvious that before a brands name can succeed, the target needs to be aware of its existence. But what is not always so obvious is that the target needs to be aware of what the product or service has to offer, how it is different from competitive brands, and how it can it can address the target’s specific wants or needs. It is important that every product or service, whether new, old, or mainstream, know its own product attributes and perceived image before making any claims against or comparisons to competing brands. Once your target is aware of the brand, the next logical step for the is to create a favorable opinion based on the product, service, or corporation’s reputation, advertised image, and/or its ability to fulfill a specific need or want.
A brands image is its personality and its status as compared to other brands of the same or similar quality in its category. Targets must decide whether they like it or don’t like it, or whether they care about how influences, who’s opinions are valued, will think of them when seen using the product or service. A brands image is created and maintained by what we think about a product before and after use. Brand image is built in the media and maintained in the mind of the consumer based on quality or lack of thereof. Brand image is based on consistency. Every time the products name is mentioned the consumer has an image or specific qualities associated with it.
A brands personality must be built around the targets needs and wants. It should become a reliable old friend that does not change with each passing fad but can be trusted to bring home consistent results, purchase after purchase.
Must brands in a given product category are the same; it is easy in this day and age for companies to quickly create a product exactly like a successful competitor’s, often at low cost. But reputation cannot be replicated. Advertising should build on that. By creating brand image or personality for your client’s products, you can keep it standing apart from competition. Make it more distinct through creative ideas, packaging and logo design; make consumers see, hear, and feel the product before they need it through the use of distinctive typography, slogans, and color.
A new product will need to have an image developed for it that matches the targets markets shelf-image and reflects their lifestyle. New products are a blank canvas that will, overtime, need to develop brand equity and earn consumer loyalty. In order to create a competitive advantage, a new product must immediately distinguish its product advantages from those of its competitions. Determining which product advantage to promote will depend on the target, what the competition is doing, what needs to be accomplished, and the creative strategy used to influence the target. Considering these options, a products advantages may be implied, found among its features and benefits, or based on price, status, or elitism. Additional advantages might center on the creation of a fad or trend, or they might be based entirely on emotional or rational needs. Creating brand awareness is critical to the success of a new product launch.
Brand loyalty refers to the relationship between the product and the target. Brand loyalty-the targets dependable repurchase of a brand based on favorable and reliable past experiences- is critical to IMC and brand equity. It is important that all advertising and promotional efforts represent the product as it is, not as an exaggeration of what it is. This is the best way to build and maintain brand loyalty, which in turn leads to brand equity.
Brand loyalty is built on trust and the knowledge the product will deliver what it promises every time it is purchased or used. Remember, objectives determine what you want to accomplish with your advertising. The products position in its life cycle will determine what those objectives are as they relate to brand development, maintenance, or reinvention.
Brand loyal consumers require less coaxing to repurchase. With the cost of advertising in today’s market every clients goal to build brand loyalty by targeting their advertising efforts to the right audience, providing consistency of the product, and building a brand image consistent with the products use and/or personality- and the maintain it. The more intimate the relationship between the target and a brand the less likely they are to be affected by competitive promotions.
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